Best Foods for Healthy, Strong, Sexy Hair

Best Foods for Healthy, Strong, Sexy Hair


What people eat and drink is often directly apparent in their skin and hair. Acting as a mirror, these two canvases are the effects of lifestyle wellness and well-not. When people drop pounds fast with the latest fad diet, for instance, it could leave them with less-than-healthy-dry and thinning hair -- along with a growling stomach. Low-calorie diets are often low in some of the most important nutrients for healthy hair, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin A. In addition to stunting hair growth and leading to dullness, super-low calorie plans may even cause hair loss.

There are certain key vitamins and minerals that help hair grow with sheen and luster. Always remember, just like weight loss, nutrition is key to having optimum wellness, and that includes healthy locks and a manageable mane. Certainly, deep conditioning, washing the hair every two days, and misting it with serum may help your head of hair look like a superstar, but when it comes to foods for healthy hair and beauty, stick to the basics down below for a guaranteed “just stepped out of the salon” look, from the inside out.

Below are the nutrients you want to get into the habit of eating and include in your weekly diet to best ensure a beautiful head of hair!

✬ Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)


May prevent the graying of hair.

Food sources

Eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, cooked dried beans and peas, nuts, dates, potatoes, avocados, and cauliflower

✬ Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Prevents brittle hair.

Food sources

walnuts, salmon, tuna, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds

✬  Protein


May help to lengthen hair by promoting hair growth.

Food Sources

lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products, beans/legumes

✬  Vitamins A and C


Helps the body to produce sebum, which keeps hair shiny and helps to prevent dandruff.

Food sources that contain both vitamin A and vitamin C

Kale, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe

✬  Zinc


Prevents hair loss.

Food sources

Lean beef, poultry, lamb, whole grain cereal, oysters, beans, and crab/lobster

✬  Calcium


May help to thicken hair by promoting healthy hair growth.

Food sources

low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, blackstrap molasses, turnip greens

✬ Biotin


May help hair to grow stronger.

Food sources

egg (yolks), wheat germ, oatmeal, wholegrain bread, mushrooms, cauliflower, peanuts, and cheese

Please note*

There are many supplements on the market for healthy hair, and though it is best to get these nutrients from fresh foods, supplements are very popular and often easier to take for many people. If taking supplements, know that they may contain mega-doses, in which you may be getting too much of a certain nutrient. This can actually have the reverse effect on the body and lead to hair loss.

A Closer Look At The Best of The Best

✾ Complex Carbohydrates

You should have complex carbohydrates, which feed you energy over a longer period of time than refined carbohydrates, with your protein source at meals. Brown short-grain rice is an ideal form. It's also a good source of B vitamins and some fiber.

✾ Eggs

Eggs are a clean and healthy source of protein. They also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.

✾ Oysters

Oysters are not only an aphrodisiac, but they can also lead to healthy hair. They have zinc which is a powerful antioxidant and hair boosting potential. In addition to getting zinc from whole grains and nuts, you can also get it from beef and lamb.

✾ Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision.

Since a healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair, you'd be wise to include carrots in your diet as snacks or toppings on your salad.


✾ Nuts

Brazil nuts are one of nature's best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.

Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds.

A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.

✾ Poultry

Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave.

Inadequate protein or with low-quality protein can lead to weak and brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color.

Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.

✾  Beans

Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.

✾  Dark Green Vegetables

Spinach, like broccoli, mustard greens, kale and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner.

✬ Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.

✬ Salmon

When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it's hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.

Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support the head, specifically the scalp and brain. A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull and drab look.

If you are a vegetarian, try fish oils, or include one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your daily diet for some plant-based omega-3 fats.

Resources: WebMD,,, NetDoctor.Co.UK,,

Baby's First Solid Foods: Think Outside of the White

Baby's First Solid Foods: Think Outside of the White


Most babies will begin the introduction of solid foods to their diets between four to six months of age, though this varies from culture to culture and of course, from family to family.

Your baby may be ready for solids if he/she:

✔ Sits up alone, without assistance
✔ Consistently seems hungry after a full feeding
✔ Shows interest in or grabs at your food
✔ Can refuse food by turning head
✔ Has outgrown reflex to spit out solid food

What parents and caregivers decide to feed their young ones is very important, because this not only helps to shape the taste buds on those curious little tongues, the choices and eating habits strongly develop into food lifestyles. This article will highlight great choices for your baby’s first foods and reasons why conventional “rice cereal” is not as innocent and “wholesome” as many commercial marketers claim them to be!

Did you know that very young babies have poor control of their throat and tongue muscles? This weak and untrained muscle makes swallowing of solid foods difficult and can cause choking or gagging if that baby has not learned the right way to down those first foods. Finding the appropriate first foods can be challenging for some families, for there are risks of allergies which may increase if baby's first foods are introduced too soon. In some scientific studies, early feeding (before 4 months of age) can cause obesity. If you are unsure about the readiness of your baby to solids, please ask your health care provider for suggestions and their professional opinion before starting any food introductions.

I strongly agree with the works and message of Stanford-based pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene. His approach to wellness for children promote wholesome foods and natural healing. He highlights in his lectures and publications the reason why whole foods should be the choices for parents and caregivers, instead of white rice cereal.

Dr. Greene says, "The number one ingredient in what we call rice 'cereal' is processed white rice flour. That's all the rice there is. There are also some vitamins and minerals sprinkled in that which babies could easily get in other ways. These don't make this gateway junk food healthy. . . Metabolically, it's not that different from giving babies a spoonful of sugar."

Dr. Greene not only believes that this white cereal is nutritionally bad for babies, but that it will set our children up for many problems down the line into adulthood.

Our bodies are programmed to like sugar and fat. When we eat breads and processed foods, synapses begin firing rapidly in our brains and dopamine is released. It is like an addiction. Eating such foods makes us feel good for a short amount of time and our bodies begin craving more and more of it. The bad news? According to Dr. Greene's theory of flavor preferences, by influencing our little ones to eat highly processed and sugar laden foods in their first years of life, the child will prefer processed foods in the decades to come (which according to historic statistics, greatly increase the chances of obesity, diabetes and a laundry list of chronic diseases!).

Instead of the commercially bleached, white sugary and highly processed white rice cereal for your baby’s first taste of food, try the following:


Filled with Vitamins A, C, Folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium and fiber
Avocados (filled with healthy essential fats and nutrients that a growing baby needs)
Bananas (their mucosal properties actually help coat the tummy and help aid in digestion)
Papaya (aids in digestion)

Special Note*

Please be aware of the processed and store-bought jars, tubes, or packets of baby fruits and vegetables sold in convenient stores or markets. Many of them are first heated in some way (boiled, pasteurized) and then mixed with salt, sugar, or preservatives or taste, appearance and extended shelf life. Pay attention to labels. Read each one carefully and try not to purchase foods that have them. Fresh is best, if and when possible. Preparation is going to be your best friend. Trust me! The time is worth it! Additional spices which can be added to baby’s food as early as 7 months include cinnamon, garlic powder, and peppers.


Green beans
Acorn or Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato/ Yam


Organic Brown Rice

I really like many of the recipes in these sources, and they teach you how to prepare your baby’s foods:

Naturally Healthy First Foods for Baby: The Best Nutrition for the First Year and Beyond by Jacquline Rubin

The Baby & Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start by Karen Ansel


"B" Well and "B" Happy: Vitamin B Benefits and Deficiency

"B" Well and "B" Happy: Vitamin B Benefits and Deficiency


When people are truly low on any of the B vitamins, depression is one of the earliest symptoms. In fact, studies show that at least one in four of all people hospitalized for depression is deficient in pyridoxine (B-6) and cobalamin (B-12); another study suggests that over three-quarters of all depressed patients have a pyridoxine deficiency. Giving these patients even small doses of pyridoxine (B-6) improves their depression. The Optimum dose for B Vitamins for adults can range from 25mg to 300 mg daily, but workers with stressful jobs may require more, take up to 1000 mg day. Sadly, only a fraction of the adults in the United States are currently getting the recommended daily intake of all B vitamins by diet alone.

A total of eight B vitamins (six of which are essential), make up the essential components for transforming carbohydrates into glucose and for metabolizing fats in the body. Each provides a different service to the body, but they also work synergistically. B vitamins contribute to healthy hair, skin and eyes and play an important role in fetal health and development. Because B vitamins are water-soluble, the body uses them, but cannot store them. This means people need to consistently replenish their supply with healthy foods or supplements.

⚙ B1 or Thiamine

Thiamine helps the body digest food, but B1’s most important function lies within the nervous system. Thiamine deficiency causes a condition called beriberi. Symptoms of beriberi include loss of mental clarity, loss of control over muscle movements, weight loss, irregular heartbeat and muscle atrophy. Prolonged deficiency leads to an enlarged heart. This vitamin is commonly found in fortified foods including cereal, bread and pasta. It is also found in meat, especially organ meats such as kidney and liver. You can also get thiamine by adding dried beans and seeds to the diet.

⚙ B2 or Riboflavin

If you have certain skin problems, increasing your B2 intake may be the best fix. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) plays an important role in skin health. People with a B2 deficiency can have problems such as lesions, oily skin and scaly, peeling lips. Aside from skin health, this vitamin also assists the body in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. People can get this vitamin by eating dairy, green leafy vegetables and lean meats. It is also in fortified foods such as cereal, rice and pasta.

⚙ B6 or Pyridoxine

B6 is part of the body's red blood cell production. It helps the body break down and use protein. Babies with low B6 suffer from hyper-irritability, abdominal pain, weight loss and excessive vomiting. In adults, low B6 usually manifests itself as a lack of mental clarity and increased confusion on a regular basis. B6 is also fortified into grains and cereals. Other sources include pork, chicken, fish, dried beans, nuts and many fruits and vegetables.

⚙ B12 or Cyanocobalamin

B12 is used in every cell of the body. It helps formulate our DNA and is an essential element in red blood cell production and healthy nerve functioning. People with a shortage of B12 can experience deficiencies in the sheath that covers the optic nerve. Deficiencies also affect the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include unusual weakness, accompanied by a sore tongue. B12 is found in animal products, including meat (lamb, liver, seafoods, clams, lobster, octopus, caviar and dairy, including eggs and cheese). Vegetarians and vegans need to take B12 in supplement form.

⚙ Niacin

Niacin is important to nerve health. It also helps, along with other B vitamins, with metabolizing fat and carbohydrates. It plays a major role in energy production and helps foster skin respiration. Niacin shortages lead to a skin condition called pellagra. Pellagra also irritates the body's mucous membranes. People with a niacin deficiency may experience dizziness and confusion. Niacin is plentiful in corn, fortified foods and lean meats.

⚙ Folic Acid

Folic acid is especially important for women who could become and are pregnant. Without adequate levels of this B vitamin, babies are at a high risk of developing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. These women should consume at least 200mcg a day in addition to what they get from food. Women not of childbearing age and men also need folic acid because it builds your red blood cell supply. Shortages lead to anemia, a decreased sense of taste and a red, swollen tongue. Folic acid is plentiful in fortified foods, such as cereal. It is also found in citrus fruits, vegetables, meats, and dried beans.

Harvard School of Public Health
The University of Maryland Medical Center

Amazing Benefits of Kale (Thomas and Kara Seng)

Amazing Benefits of Kale (Thomas and Kara Seng)


Want to grow kale all year long or take kale and more than 26 other fruits and vegetables in easy to take supplements? Visit:

"You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables. Multiple population studies have linked consumption of these healthy veggies with lower rates of various types of cancer. If you’re like me, the headlines about the wonders of cruciferous vegetables have inspired you to incorporate more broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts into your diet. But there’s another member of this family of vegetables that’s increasingly popular and happens to be my personal favorite: kale. (Does it make me odd to have a favorite crucifer?)

Kale is a remarkably nutritious food, so much so that the British government encouraged its citizens to plant it in their gardens during World War II when rationing made getting enough nourishment a challenge. And recently, the natural grocery chain Whole Foods developed a system called ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) to rate the nutritional value of foods on a scale of 1 to 1000 — and awarded kale a perfect 1000! (The only other foods to rank this high were mustard/turnip/collard greens and watercress.)

Here’s what you get in a one-cup serving:

⚘ An astounding 778% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin K, which the body needs for healthy blood coagulation and to metabolize calcium. (But don’t worry about getting too much, this vitamin is water-soluble, so it can’t build up to toxic levels.)
⚘ 85% of the RDI of vitamin A, necessary for healthy vision, immune strength, and the integrity of skin and mucous membranes.
⚘ 49% of the RDI of Vitamin C, which also aids immune function and is needed for the health of connective tissue.
⚘ 20% of the RDI of manganese, a mineral that plays a role in bone, joint, and skin health.
⚘ 2 grams fiber, which is necessary for normal digestion and reduces the risk of heart disease.
⚘ Only 28 calories!

Kale is a hardy, cold-loving vegetable that’s in season right now. In fact, the plant gets sweeter once it’s been exposed to a frost, so look for it all winter long in the produce aisle of your favorite grocery store.

You can also grow your own kale. The plant is so pretty it’s sometimes grown ornamentally, particularly the purple or ruffled varieties, which are edible as well. You can plant kale in your yard or in raised beds, but the vegetable also grows well in the Tower Garden, a vertical, aeroponic growing system that’s perfect for rooftops, patios or balconies. It’s easier than traditional gardening because there’s no soil, no weeds, and no ground pests to threaten your crops.

Once you’ve bought (or picked) a bunch of kale, what can you do with it?

⚘ Kale is delicious sautéed plain or with a little onion. You can eat it just like that, or cook your sautéed kale into a nice quiche.
⚘ Raw kale makes a good base for a hearty salad, tossed with carrots and chopped apple.
⚘ Throw a couple leaves into a fruit smoothie for a nutritional boost no one will even be able to taste.
⚘ Or mix it with mashed potatoes for the Irish favorite colcannon.
⚘ One of my favorite ways to eat kale (which I mentioned in my pumpkin blog post) is in a hearty soup made with pumpkin and sausage. If you’re a vegetarian, substitute red beans for the sausage.

Finally, here’s an easy, kid-friendly way to serve kale: Make kale chips! Shred a head of kale into strips, place on a baking sheet with olive oil and salt, and bake at 275 degrees for twenty minutes, tossing after ten minutes. These are crispy and delicious as is, but you can also add your favorite seasoning. Chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast all work well.

Have you ever tried cooking with kale? What are your favorite ways to eat it?"

Written By: Sara Lovely

All Hail The Mighty Green Kale

All Hail The Mighty Green Kale


It is lauded as one of Earth’s healthiest edible substances:  packed with vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting phytonutrients — it's also incredibly versatile. It's great in soups and smoothies and almost everything in between. I am talking about kale, the hearty and dark green traditional dinner plate garnish. Kale has certainly earned much respect from a side garnish onto the main dish that other ingredients accompany.

This is because it is such a great source of:

 ■ Vitamin A

– great for eyesight and eye, skin, lungs, respiratory system,and nose membranes, AND is an antioxidant that fights free radicals.

 ■ Vitamin C

– great for cold prevention and immunity boosting

 ■ Vitamin K

– aids in blood clotting, is great for bone health and protects against liver and prostate cancer

 In fact, just one portion of kale is only 36 calories but it provides a massive 192% of your daily vitamin A needs!  Kale is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, too. A daily portion provides 89% of the daily vitamin C requirement.

Vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. In addition it is also connected with reducing free radicals that trigger inflammatory diseases and is therefore associated with the reduction of severe problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and asthma.

One portion of kale will cater for 10.5% of your daily fiber requirements.  Fiber is important for our bodies because fiber helps reduce cholesterol and prevents arteries from becoming clogged up. It also aids in keeping blood sugars under control, so great for people with diabetes. Fiber can also give relief to people with irritable bowel syndrome as it aids constipation and diarrhea and provides protection against colon cancer.

Kale is also full of calcium! It is also labeled the King of Calcium. This is great news for people who are allergic or intolerant to dairy products.  Kale provides a great source of calcium, though not as high in calcium as cow's milk. Kale does not have the saturated fat associated with cow's dairy milk, so it is excellent for kids in helping with bone development and of prevents osteoporosis in adults, too.

Kale is also famous for its carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin and lutein, as these can be a great protector against cataracts.

Lutein is a very powerful antioxidant; it has a yellow pigment (the yellow is covered up by chlorophyll in green leaves) with newly discovered powers to fight disease.

Most adults eat about 1 milligram of lutein a day. Experts recommend at least 4-6mg of that powerful disease fighter.

Kale also contains sulphoraphane, which only becomes apparent when cruciferous veggies such as kale, cabbage and broccoli are chewed or chopped.

Sulphoraphane encourages the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer causing chemicals, especially those connected to chemically-induced breast cancer and colon cancer. Many studies have also shown that sulphoraphane may protect against genetic cancers too.

Kale is very low and calories and inexpensive too! It comes in several varieties but the ones you’ll see most often are curly kale and dinosaur (flat) kale, both in beautiful hues of green and purple. Choose a bunch that has strong, crisp leaves with no brown spots, and store in your refrigerator in a large plastic bag with a moist paper towel.

Here are five ways to prepare the green superfood:

1. Steam (the best way to preserve photochemical and nutrients). Bring about 1/2 cup of water in a large pot to a boil. Put the lid on the pot and steam until kale is tender (7-10 minutes). Then season with salt and pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, or soy sauce.

2. Roast or dehydrate. Place the DRY leaves in a baking dish and toss with olive oil. Bake in 450 oven for 5-10 minutes until leaves are crispy, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

3. Soup. Make a soup out of one head of garlic peeled and chopped, one onion chopped, 1 bunch kale de-stemmed and chopped, 2 medium  potatoes chopped, 2 carrots diced, any other veggies you like, and 8 cups veggie broth. Saute the garlic and onions first, and then combine everything in a big soup pot. Simmer until potatoes are tender. As an option, add rice vinegar, salt, and / or pepper and season to taste.

4. Smoothie. Make your favorite smoothie, and add in tiny pieces of kale. Start with 1/2 a handful and then add more if you like.

5. Sauté the leaves in sesame oil and garlic until they are limp and bright, and serve sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. For an extra popping flavor, add pesto and olive oil to pasta and add in a heaping serving of delicious kale!



20 Tips on How to Get Toddlers and Children to Eat Vegetables

20 Tips on How to Get Toddlers and Children to Eat Vegetables


Toddlers and children can be very picky eaters. There are scientific studies that point to reasons why this is so. For one, there is rapid growth the average one-year-old undergoes, and following such a developmental process, (kids between one and three years of age), toddlers gain weight more slowly. This equates to needing less food. The amount of learning, discovering and adaptation that takes place daily also affects their eating patterns. Because little ones rarely sit still for long periods of time, even meal times, snacking their way through the day is more compatible with their lifestyle than sitting down to a full-fledged feast.

Toddlers and children need more of the right foods presented to them as choices. They are very influential creatures and will emulate foods that are bought, prepared and eaten by their role models, parents and guardians. The amount in which each child eats, when they eat, and if they eat, is mostly their responsibility (though we may take the credit or the blame most of the time).

It is good to know that most toddlers like to binge on one food at a time. They may eat only fruits one day, and vegetables the next. Since erratic eating habits are as normal as toddler mood swings, expect your child to eat well one day and eat practically nothing the next. Toddlers from one to three years need between 1,000 and 1,300 calories a day, yet they may not eat this amount every day. Aim for a nutritionally-balanced week, not a balanced day. Also know that milestones such as cutting teeth, growth spurts, and changes in the environment (vacationing, traveling, season change, and starting school) or visitors (people outside their normal household visiting) may affect the eating patterns.

All this is not to say that parents shouldn't encourage their toddlers to eat well and develop healthy food habits.

Below are 20 tips to help alleviate the anxiety parents have about putting more veggies and healthy foods into the mouths of our little ones.

1.      Shop with your kids . . . especially in the fresh produce section.

Make grocery shopping a fun activity together. Not only will they feel good about picking out their own produce and favorite snacks, they will learn about different seasonal foods, how to best select them, making their own food choices and will, in the long run, empower them to be more confident when it comes to fresh foods from the market.

2.      Cook with your kids

Now that they have helped select the foods you will make at home, have them assist in the kitchen and watch the process of preparing the foods. Kids love to be of assistance and will more likely eat the foods they helped make. Even washing the vegetables or sprinkling some seasoning is enough for most toddlers to be willing to eat what they helped cook.

3.      Present their foods as a nibble tray.

Toddlers like to graze their way through a variety of foods, and may get overwhelmed with a huge offering of foods at one time. Use an ice-cube tray, a muffin tin, or a compartmentalized dish, and put small bite-size portions of colorful and nutritious foods in each section. Call these finger foods playful names that a two-year-old can appreciate, such as:

•apple moons (thinly sliced)
•avocado boats (a quarter of an avocado)
•banana wheels
•broccoli trees (steamed broccoli florets)
•carrot swords (cooked and thinly sliced)
•cheese building blocks
•egg canoes (hard- boiled egg wedges)
•little O's (o-shaped cereal)

4. Dip and dunk it in a sauce.

Young children think that immersing foods in a tasty dip is pure fun (and delightfully messy). Some possibilities to dip into:

•cottage cheese or tofu dip
•organic ketchup
•pasta sauce
•salad dressing
•cream cheese
•fruit juice-sweetened preserves
•peanut butter, thinly spread
•pureed fruits or vegetables
•yogurt, plain or sweetened with juice concentrate

Those dips serve equally well as spreads on apple or pear slices, bell pepper strips, rice cakes, bagels, toast, or other nutritious platforms.

5. Spread it.

Toddlers like spreading, or more accurately, smearing. Show them how to use a table knife to spread cheese, peanut butter, and fruit concentrate onto crackers, toast, or rice cakes.

6. Top it.

Toddlers are into toppings. Putting nutritious, familiar favorites on top of new and less-desirable foods is a way to broaden the finicky toddler's menu. Favorite toppings are yogurt, cream cheese, melted cheese, guacamole, tomato sauce, applesauce, and peanut butter.

7. Drink it.

If your youngster would rather drink than eat, don't despair. Make a smoothie – together. Milk and fruit – along with supplements such as juice, egg powder, wheat germ, yogurt, honey, and peanut butter – can be the basis of very healthy meals. So what if they are consumed through a straw? One note of caution: Avoid any drinks with raw eggs or you'll risk salmonella poisoning.

8. Cut it up.

How much a child will eat may depend on how you cut it. Make eating fun by cutting sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, and pizza into various shapes using cookie cutters.

9. Package it.

Appearance and color is important (just ask any marketing agency for kids). For something new and different, why not use your child's own toy plates for dishing out a snack? Be creative. Think fun containers such as plastic measuring cups and ice-cream cones.

You can also try the scaled-down approach. Either serve pint-size portions or, when they're available, buy munchkin-size foodstuffs, such as mini bagels, mini quiches, chicken drummettes (the meat part of the wing), and tiny muffins.

8. Become a veggie vendor.

Toddlers and children should be offered three to five servings of veggies a day, for children under five; each serving need be only a tablespoon for each year of age. In other words, a two-year-old should ideally consume two tablespoons of vegetables three to five times a day.

⚙ Plant a garden with your child.

Let her help care for the plants, harvest the ripe vegetables, and wash and prepare them. She will probably be much more interested in eating what she has helped to grow.

⚙ Slip grated or diced vegetables into favorite foods.

Try adding them to rice, cottage cheese, cream cheese, guacamole, or even macaroni and cheese. Zucchini pancakes are a big hit at our house, as are carrot muffins.

⚙ Camouflage vegetables with a favorite sauce.
⚙ Use vegetables as finger foods and dip them in a favorite sauce or dip.
⚙ Using a small cookie cutter, cut the vegetables into interesting shapes.
⚙ Steam your greens.

They are much more flavorful and usually sweeter than when raw. Drizzle with olive oil and Parmesan cheese or mix with butter. Root vegetables taste great with a small dollop of raw coconut oil.

⚙ Make veggie art.

Create colorful faces with olive- slice eyes, tomato ears, mushroom noses, bell-pepper mustaches, and any other playful features you can think of. Our eighth child, Lauren, loved to put olives on the tip of each finger. "Olive fingers" would then nibble this nutritious and nutrient-dense food off her fingertips. Zucchini pancakes make a terrific face to which you can add pea eyes, a carrot nose, and cheese hair.

⚙ Concoct creative camouflages.

There are all kinds of possible variations on the old standby "cheese in the trees" (cheese melted on steamed broccoli florets). Or, you can all enjoy the pleasure of veggies topped with peanut- butter sauce, a specialty of Asian cuisines.

10. Share it.

If your child is going through a picky-eater stage, invite over a friend who is the same age or slightly older whom you know "likes to eat." Your child will catch on. Group feeding lets the other kids set the example, and just like other pack animals, children tend to eat more when around other people their same age because of the competitive edge.

11. Respect tiny tummies.

Keep food servings small. Wondering how much to offer? Here's a rule of thumb – or, rather, of hand. A young child's stomach is approximately the size of his fist. So dole out small portions at first and refill the plate when your child asks for more. This less-is-more meal plan is not only more successful with picky eaters; it also has the added benefit of stabilizing blood-sugar levels, which in turn minimizes mood swings. As most parents know, a hungry kid is generally not a happy kid.

12. Use what we call "the bite rule" to encourage the reluctant eater:

"Take one bite, two bites…" (however far you think you can push it without force-feeding). The bite rule at least gets your child to taste a new food, while giving her some control over the feeding. As much as you possibly can, let your child – and his appetite – set the pace for meals. But if you want your child to eat dinner at the same time you do, try to time his snack-meals so that they are at least two hours before dinner.

13. Make it accessible.

Give your toddler shelf space. Reserve a low shelf in the refrigerator for a variety of your toddler's favorite (nutritious) foods and drinks. Whenever she wants a snack, open the door for her and let her choose one. This tactic also enables children to eat when they are hungry, an important step in acquiring a healthy attitude about food.

14. Let them use fun gadgets.

Whether it is a blender, juicer, and food processor, even a spatula or wooden spoon to mix and prepare the foods to make smoothies and other recipes with fruits and vegetables, with the proper supervision, children will love try foods they helped make with the fun mechanical devices.

15. Use sit-still strategies.

One reason why toddlers don't like to sit still at the family table is that their feet dangle. Try sitting on a stool while eating. You naturally begin to squirm and want to get up and move around. Children are likely to sit and eat longer at a child-size table and chair where their feet touch the ground.

16. Turn meals upside down.

The distinctions between breakfast, lunch, and dinner have little meaning to a child. If your youngster insists on eating pizza in the morning or fruit and cereal in the evening, go with it – better than her not eating at all. This is not to say that you should become a short-order cook, filling lots of special requests, but why not let your toddler set the menu sometimes? Other family members will probably enjoy the novelty of waffles and hash browns for dinner.

17. Play pretend cooking with them.

Just like the real food preparation, children are more likely to eat their own creations, even when it is through simple play and imagination. Use cookie cutters, play or plastic foods, or simple sand at the park to create a delicious meal from farm to table. Children will carry their playtime into real meal times if good examples and dialogues are practiced in play.

18. Make every calorie count.

Offer your child foods that pack lots of nutrition into small doses. This is particularly important for toddlers who are often as active as rabbits, but who seem to eat like mice.

Nutrient-dense foods that most children are willing to eat include:

•California Avocados
•Broccoli and other dark leafy greens
•Peanut, almond or other nut butters
•Brown rice, quinoa and other grains
•Sweet potatoes
•Kidney beans

19. Children may be unpredictable.

For young children, what and how much they are willing to eat may vary daily. This capriciousness is due in large part to their ambivalence about independence, and eating is an area where they can act out this confusion. Do not be surprised if your child eats a heaping plateful of food one day and practically nothing the next, adores broccoli and blueberries for a period of time and suddenly refuses even looking at it, wants to feed herself at one meal and be totally catered to at another. Try to go with the flow of how your child is feeling, do not take their eating patterns personally and know that they are more than likely, doing fine.

20. Offer children sweet endings.

We all know what our children’s favorite foods are, whether they are freeze dried yogurt drops, bite sized grapes, frozen blueberries, tiny chocolate morsels, frozen yogurt or even strawberries dipped in whipped cream. Offer small rewards for eating vegetables or foods they otherwise would have brushed off their plate. Do not make the rewards a big deal, but rather a part of the meal process, as a last course. Most children just like to feel like they get to taste and nibble on their favorite treat. Why not make meal time end on positive note? Offer two of their favorite choices and make them healthy! Fruit and yogurt are always great options. Most importantly, relax. Your children will eventually develop a greater palate, will explore and eat more foods as they grow older.


13 Secrets the FDA Won't Tell You

13 Secrets the FDA Won't Tell You


1. When it comes to contaminated food, we have been deceptively kept in the dark.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 48 million Americans or one out of every six people get sick each year from food poisoning. At least 128,000 Americans are hospitalized, and 3,000 die after eating contaminated food. Not until very recently, the food safety system headed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did little to nip problems before they blew up. David Plunkett, a senior staff attorney in the food safety department of the Center for Science in the Public Interest says that people had to get sick to budge the FDA into action and try to find out what was happening. This was probably largely due to recalls being an ever-increasing time-expense on healthcare, according statistics from RASMAS, a web service that provides information to help the public reduce legal risk, improve patient safety, and simplify regulatory reporting.

Thankfully, the public’s angry push on safety and stricter regulation is getting the FDA a little bit more proactive. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4th, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. This agency is the much-needed muscle to inspect high-risk foods and products and immediately pull them off the market if needed. Plunkett says that one of the things that nobody really talked about was that the FDA, even when they knew a food was dangerous, rarely orders a company to recall it. In the past, the FDA instead had to negotiate a recall with the manufacturer, a process that could take weeks, so speeding up the process is a big victory for public health.

2. More inspections = More $$$. That is not in our country’s budget.

How much do recalls cost the country annually?

Recalls of consumer products (all industries, not just FDA) cost the country over 700 billion dollars annually!!

The new food safety law requires the FDA to conduct more frequent inspections of manufacturing facilities, inspect a greater percentage of imports, and send inspectors abroad to check out foreign companies. America’s FDA budget is running on the really low side, not adequate by any means, and it is certainly not adequate to implement the new Food Safety Modernization Act. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that implementing the food safety law will cost the FDA an additional $1.4 billion between 2011 and 2015. That might sound like a lot, but compared to the cost of foodborne illnesses, which costs the U.S. $152 billion a year, it is a painfully slow start, but a start, nonetheless. There needs to be better planning and funding for quality and routine inspections. The FDA will need to work with Congress to obtain the necessary boost in funding.

3. At the farmer's market, how do you know you are buying organic and locally grown?

Eating locally may be in trendy, but because of slim regulatory inspections by the FDA and USDA at local farmer’s markets, people may be taking more of a risk than they realize. Under the new law, the FDA was given authority to write new produce-safety standards governing how farmers grow, package and ship high-risk foods like spinach or tomatoes. But small farms with direct sales to consumers of less than $500,000 a year are exempt from those new rules. And small manufacturers with less than $5,000 in sales, such as those selling at small farmers’ markets, are exempt from the organic certification process (but can still label their products as organic), and must be truthful in their label claims and comply with the new government standards. Individuals or companies who sell or label a product as organic when they know it does not meet USDA standards, can be fined up to $10,000 for each violation. Operating under a modified, simplified version of the food-safety system can be tricky for the consumer. Consumer advocates have thus pushed to make these exemptions as narrow as possible, because food poisoning outbreaks linked to small producers do happen, even if they affect a relatively small number of people.

4.  It is fine to buy drugs across the border

It's illegal to import medication from abroad, including foreign-made versions of drugs that have been approved for use in the U.S. But with senators organizing bus trips for seniors to buy drugs in Canada, it is no secret that individuals are not prosecuted for bringing back legal meds from other countries (as long as they are for personal use). Christopher Kelly, a spokesman for the FDA, confirms that the agency focuses enforcement only on imports that are intended for resale, but notes that it can detain personal imports at the border. "Almost all prescription orders personally imported reach the consumer," says Gabriel Levitt, the vice president of, a website that checks out online domestic and international pharmacies. While there certainly are dangerous drugs sold over the web, lab tests conducted by researchers at the American Enterprise Institute found that international pharmacies which had a physical address and staff contact information on their websites tended to supply safe, legitimate drugs, says Roger Bate, the AEI fellow who led the study.

5. Majority of medical devices skip clinical testing before being approved

More than 90% of medical devices approved by the FDA go through the 510K process, which doesn't require any clinical trials before the device goes on the market, inspections of the facility where the device is being produced, or post-market studies once the device is already being sold. The process is designed to allow companies to skip conducting clinical trials for low-risk devices that are similar to another device already on the market.

In February 2011, the FDA announced plans to create an even faster-track review process for especially innovative medical devices, which was followed a day later by a major article in the New York Times business section highlighting complaints by a few small device manufacturers and venture capitalists that the FDA review process had become too stringent and was chasing jobs abroad.

After reviewing every FDA recall of medical devices between 2005 and 2009, authors Diana Zuckerman and Paul Brown of National Research Center for Women & Families and Steve Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic found that only 21 of 113 recalls of devices whose malfunction could have caused serious health problems or death went through clinical trial testing prior to approval. Of those 113 recalls, 78 % received either a cursory or no review, with sensitive cardiovascular devices like internal and external defibrillators accounting for nearly a third of the recalls.

Recognizing that the 510K process had created a huge loophole for devices whose malfunctioning would pose a serious risk to human health, the FDA asked the Institute of Medicine to conduct a full-scale investigation into the device review process. That report, released in July in 2011, concluded that, “It is unclear—and the committee concludes that it is indeterminable, given current information— whether the 510(k) process over the last 35 years has had a positive or negative effect on innovation. . . and found that the current 510(k) process is flawed based on its legislative foundation.” The committee recommended that the FDA develop and implement a program of continuous quality improvement to increase predictability, transparency, and consistency in all regulatory decisions for devices and to address emerging issues that affect decision making.

This comes as no surprise, since every report that has looked at this relatively obscure regulatory arena has found the same thing. A 2009 Government Accountability Office report found that more Class III (high-risk devices whose malfunctioning would pose a serious risk to health or death) got cleared through the 510(k) process between 2003 and 2007 than through the more stringent pre-market approval (PMA) process, which requires clinical trial testing.  “Although Congress envisioned that class III devices would be approved through the more stringent PMA process, and the Safe Medical Devices Act of 1990 required that FDA either reclassify or establish a schedule for requiring PMAs for class III device types, this process remains incomplete,” the GAO noted in its typically dry and understated fashion.

6. We can't prevent drug makers from hyping "off label" uses.

Doctors can legally prescribe a medication to treat any condition they want, including conditions the FDA has not approved the drug to treat. But it is illegal for drug companies to promote such "off label" uses of their products. But that doesn't seem to stop them from doing it, as multiple settlements with major manufacturers demonstrate, says Larry McNeely, a health care advocate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The FDA in not equipped with manpower to review more than about 1% of the marketing materials companies send in for approval, and there are plenty of subtler ways for companies to promote off-label uses, like sending doctors who've written papers advocating off label uses around to conferences to promote their work, or hiring ghostwriters to pen opinion pieces promoting such research.

7. Drug companies do not always complete clinical trials.

In a small but growing number of cases, the FDA has allowed companies to stop clinical trials early, as soon as the trial has found a statistically significant difference between the placebo and the treatment being tested. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the percentage of trials published in major medical journals that had been stopped early "for benefit," meaning the treatment arm of the study has diverged significantly from the placebo arm, rose from 0.5% in 1990-1994 to 1.2% in 2000-2004. The study found that these cut-short trials often showed "implausibly large" benefits from the drugs being tested.

Many of the drugs in question were cardiovascular treatments or cancer drugs, according to the study, like a trial of blood-pressure drug bisoprolol in patients undergoing elective vascular surgery, which stopped after recruiting less than half of the number of subjects originally planned to test. A benefit that shows up early on in a trial might disappear by the time it's finished. That is why it is so important that studies are completed. A decision to stop a trial early is typically made as part of a formal process with a review board, and is done when there's such a clear benefit that it's no longer ethical to give patients a placebo.

8. Our conflict-of-interest policy shuts out experts.

When reviewing innovative new drugs, the FDA will often convene an advisory panel of outside experts to review the research on a drug and make recommendations. According to a conflict-of-interest policy adopted at the end of the Bush administration, those panels do not include anyone who has taken money from the company whose drug is under consideration. This excludes the people who have written key papers in the field. What ends up happening is the FDA will often get bad advice from these panels, because the people involved are not actually the real experts in that particular disease.

The FDA can grant a waiver if a particular person's expertise is considered essential, but this exception has its criticisms for having conflicts.

9. We want to help pharma investors.

As part of a broader Obama administration transparency push, the FDA has announced that it is going to start offering the public detailed explanations when it rejects a drug or asks a company for more studies. The agency is doing everything it can to improve public health by explaining the decision-making process, while continuing to protect patient confidentiality and industry trade secrets. In the past, the FDA would tell a company exactly what was wrong with its application, but that information was confidential, and drug makers could release as much or as little detail as they wanted. Providing an explanation for a rejection will give investors a clear understanding of whether a drug maker has hit a minor snag or a major obstacle.

10. Eat your fish. Don’t ask where it came from because we won’t tell you.

The government agency responsible for protecting public health and safety plans to sign off on a hugely controversial product, genetically modified fish, but wants to keep the gory details from Americans who will eventually eat it. To keep information secret, the FDA is assessing the fish as a veterinary drug because it allows the agency to deliberate behind closed doors. The classification also permits critical data and research submitted by the company that will create the product to remain confidential.

Called AquaAdvantage, the altered salmon could be served in U.S. households within the next few years. So far FDA scientists claim the modified fish is “as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon” and that they have seen “no biologically relevant differences” between the real fish and its artificial counterpart.

The only difference between the natural and enhanced salmon is that the modified species is given a special gene and growth hormone that makes it develop twice as fast. The Massachusetts company (Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc.) that came up with the idea claims its specially engineered version is identical to the Atlantic salmon except for the speed of its growth.

Those willing to take a chance on this lab creation should at the very least have full disclosure from the government agency that approves it. The FDA, after all, gave legal rationale for its silence: Some clinical trial data are considered "trade secrets," or commercially protected information, and thus are exempted from release under the Freedom of Information Act. Since the FDA doesn't routinely perform comprehensive reviews of drugs once they are on the market, when uncommon but deadly side effects tend to be picked up, independent researchers are often the only hope of catching such flaws. But the trade-secrets rule can leave researchers in the dark about the most worrisome data—negative results that support a failed application to market a drug. No wander the FDA is notorious for compromising public health to protect the profits of companies that pay it hundreds of millions of dollars in “fees” to get their products approved.

11. Thinking about going RAW? Not if the FDA has anything to say about it. You WILL drink from our Dairy farms.

The popular mantra, in one form or another, is one that you may have heard someone say in response to the idea of drinking unpasteurized milk, or raw milk, which is, “dangerous,” and the only way to make it safe for human consumption is to pasteurize it (killing everything nutritious about milk too). The Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to marginalize this health-promoting "superfood" by publicly repeating such lies against it.

Both the FDA and CDC continue to allege that raw milk is dangerous and that it leads to disease, all while propagating the false notion that the only safe milk is pasteurized milk. They often cite seemingly-scientific numbers and data about outbreaks allegedly related to raw milk in defense of these claims, and many people eat up this misinformation without giving it a second thought. As a result, a general public bias against raw milk has been firmly established and in motion for many decades now, despite the fact that the parents and grandparents of many of those who today decry raw milk actually drank raw milk when they were growing up (and many lived healthy, vibrant lives as a result).

Dispelling the myths and taboos surrounding raw milk is no easy task, as most of the "official" information coming from government sources is biased against raw milk. By continually denouncing the safety of raw milk and scaring the public with (false) statistics, the war against this wholesome food appears to be a success -- except for the fact that the truth is finally coming out, and increasing numbers of people are awakening and turning to raw milk for improved nutrition and better health.

The following are examples of how the FDA and CDC manipulate statistics and lie about raw milk and conceal deadly truth about pasteurized milk:

In 2007, the FDA and CDC jointly issued a press release entitled, FDA and CDC Remind Consumers of the Dangers of Drinking Raw Milk. This report contains frightening statistics, which claim that between 1998 and 2005, there were 45 outbreaks, 1007 cases of reported illness, 104 hospitalizations, and two deaths "associated" with the consumption of raw milk. These figures are completely false. The report cites an issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from March 2, 2007, as the source of this data. But a quick look at this cited report reveals that the numbers used by the FDA and CDC in their own report do not even exist.

Try performing a search for yourself to find the data or report on the website. You will be unable to find any trace of data that supports the data found in the joint agency report. And since neither agency has been willing to address requests for clarification about the actual source where the data can be found, there is no other option but to assume that they simply made it all up in order to perpetuate the culture of bias and stigma against raw milk.

12. Worst cases of outbreak do not yield reminders or cautions about eating those specific foods

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) put out a report a few years ago on outbreak and illness cases that occurred between 1990 and 2004. During this time, there were 639 reported outbreaks and 31,496 reported illnesses caused by produce, which represents 38 percent of all foodborne illness cases. Poultry was responsible for 541 outbreaks and 16,280 illnesses, representing 20 percent of all foodborne illness cases.

The list goes on to cite beef, eggs, and seafood, all of which are implicated in causing far more foodborne illness cases than even the most inflated and fictitious raw milk illness statistics. And yet the FDA and CDC have never once issued warnings or "reminders" about not eating any of those foods.

13. Chicken Meat sold in U.S. contains arsenic!?

After years of sweeping the issue under the rug and hoping no one would notice, the FDA has now finally admitted that chicken meat sold in the USA contains arsenic, a cancer-causing toxic chemical that's fatal in high doses. But the real story is where this arsenic comes from: It's added to the chicken feed on purpose!

Even worse, the FDA says its own research shows that the arsenic added to the chicken feed ends up in the chicken meat where it is consumed by humans. So for the last sixty years, American consumers who eat conventional chicken have been swallowing arsenic, a known cancer-causing chemical.

Until this new study, both the poultry industry and the FDA denied that arsenic fed to chickens ended up in their meat. The fairytale excuse story we've all been fed for sixty years is that "the arsenic is excreted in the chicken feces." There's no scientific basis for making such a claim... it's just what the poultry industry wanted everybody to believe.

But now the evidence is so undeniable that the manufacturer of the chicken feed product known as Roxarsone has decided to pull the product off the shelves. And what's the name of this manufacturer that has been putting arsenic in the chicken feed for all these years? Pfizer, of course -- the very same company that makes vaccines containing chemical adjuvants that are injected into children.

Technically, the company making the Roxarsone chicken feed is a subsidiary of Pfizer, called Alpharma LLC. Even though Alpharma now has agreed to pull this toxic feed chemical off the shelves in the United States, it says it won't necessarily remove it from feed products in other countries unless it is forced by regulators to do so. But even as its arsenic-containing product is pulled off the shelves, the FDA continues its campaign of denial, claiming arsenic in chickens is at such a low level that it's still safe to eat. This is even as the FDA says arsenic is a carcinogen, meaning it increases the risk of cancer.

Not surprisingly, the National Chicken Council agrees with the FDA. In a statement issued in response to the news that Roxarsone would be pulled from feed store shelves, it stated, "Chicken is safe to eat" even while admitting arsenic was used in many flocks grown and sold as chicken meat in the United States.

If you are curious as to the policies and procedures of the United State Food and Drug Administration, please visit their website:

The FDA’s Web site is the entry point to a wealth of information about all of our programs and product areas. There, you can find information for consumers, health professionals, industry, and the latest news on FDA-regulated products.

12 Healthy and Delicious Appetizers

12 Healthy and Delicious Appetizers


Attending gatherings almost always involves food. Sultry, buttery, savory holiday food. The winter season filled with sugar and comfort foods has come and gone. But our bodies still live with unwanted poundage (Most people gain 5-8 pounds during the winter holiday season). Though we feel happy eating the foods and chatting about all the exciting events that have occurred in the past year, those new years resolutions are still awaiting for us to declare them around the corner. Why not get a head start now and choose to eat/prepare foods sensibly and with good intentions that we are going to fill our bodies with healthy, good-for-us nutrition? I have compiled a list of some easy to prepare and healthy appetizers to impress your family, colleagues and friends, (especially if you are attending a pot luck) while making your body and conscious thank you for honoring their presence and importance.

1. Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green Salad

The sweet, crunchy nuts are great on their own—make a double batch and give some as a gift. Served in this salad, they give just the right amount of sweet crunch. If you are trying to eat seasonal, substitute mustard greens or kale for the “leafy green” part of the salad. Try goat cheese, too. It is the perfect pairing.

2. Barcelona Hot Chocolate

If you have a strong chocolate craving and must have a taste, try a cup of rich hot Barcelona or dark chocolate cocoa which can offer great health benefits, including simply feeling happier. One cup has twice the level of antioxidant activity of a five-ounce glass of red wine and two to three times more than a cup of green tea. This version combines bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened cocoa with espresso, brown sugar, and orange rind for a pick-me-up that's enjoyed in Spain and Europe.

3. Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash Soup

Soup is always a great appetizer and can be healthy if prepared right. Make sure you prepare the soup with chicken broth, vegetable broth or almond/hemp milk to add creaminess. For recipes, check out: and  Reheat these in-season sweet and creamy soup over medium-low heat just before serving.

4. Traditional Hummus

This Middle Eastern dip is traditionally made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil; it lends itself to several variations. Prepare and refrigerate it a day ahead; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with a lemon wedge and fresh parsley sprig, and serve with Sprouted bread or Baked Pita Chips.

5. Chicken or Vegetable Pot Stickers with Soy-Scallion Dipping Sauce

Say no to fried cheesy won-tons or mini-quiches and turn to the comfort light Asian gyoza (also known as dumplings or pot stickers).  Found in almost every major commercial market, most dumplings are made of vegetables, pork and or some other meet. Stick to vegetable pot stickers free of MSG. Remember to read labels. Pair with Sriracha sauce, ketchup or ginger-garlic-sesame-soy sauce and a splash of vinegar.

6. Celery and Parsley Salad with Golden Raisins

This is super easy, light, crunchy, and refreshing. It is a palate cleanser to accompany a holiday meal! The following is a great recipe.


7. Garlic-Herb and Yogurt Dip

Sour Cream is last year’s dip. Try a healthier approach to dress up those organic veggies by substituting yogurt for sour cream. You can prepare this all-purpose dip up to a day ahead. Serve it with cauliflower and broccoli florets, carrot and celery sticks, and bell pepper strips. This is a great recipe: Try ricotta cheese instead of yogurt if you still want the cheese.

8. Prosciutto-Wrapped Mango Bites

Ask for paper-thin slices of meat at the deli counter. To ease prep, look for a package of pre-sliced mango in the produce section. Do not use jarred mango slices—they are too soft and absolved of most nutrients. Wrap the prosciutto around arugula and basil leaves. Sandwich a slice of mango and top off with fresh ground pepper. Feel free to substitute the mango for apple, honeydew, or cantaloupe melon.

9. Salmon and Cucumber Bites

Dramatically cut the calories out of this simple canapé by subbing crisp cucumber slices for bread. The freshness of the cucumbers pairs well with the smoked salmon and creamy topping. Try Persian cucumbers for a sweeter taste and crisper texture. Make sure to use wild salmon.

10. Red Onion and Gorgonzola Flat-bread

Because it's easy to work with, this semolina-flour dough is a great way to try your hand at yeasted dough. You can also buy the ready-made flat-bread dough or sprouted bread and cut them into small squares. Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

11. Simple Steamed In-Season Vegetables or Roasted Vegetables

Steam your favorite vegetables for 5-7 minutes (or until bright colored) in a steamer over boiling water. Be sure to cover with a lid for an additional 3 minutes (or until desired softness). Cool and serve with olive oil drizzled (and optional balsamic vinegar) over entire plate with a sprinkle of sea salt of Parmesan cheese. My favorite is steamed asparagus, broccoli and kale. (Photo Credit: Roast vegetables in the oven for 20 minutes on 350 degrees with a dollop of Coconut oil and sea salt. Easy, nutritious and delicious.

12. Endive with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Endives are in season in the winter. This appetizer is beautifully elegant and easy to eat if you put the cheese and walnuts on one end of the endive. Pair with a drizzle of sweet orange juice.




5 Foods for Better Health

5 Foods for Better Health


Changing your eating habits can do more than trim your waistline. With the right ingredients you can lower your cancer risk and potentially increase your lifespan! Here are 5 easy foods to add to your grocery list that will make great positive differences in the way you feel everyday.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables

(Serving size: Unlimited)

Cruciferous vegetables belong to the cabbage family. These amazing superfoods contain antioxidants to boost immune systems, vitamins and minerals that keep organs running efficient and strong, and protect against a myriad of cancers. Look for cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, kale and brussels sprouts. You can even juice them and drink them for a powerful liver detoxing drink!


2.  Cooked Asian Mushrooms

(Serving size: Unlimited)

Mushrooms contain immune system boosting compounds, helping to prevent illness. At less than 100 calories per cup, they are extremely beneficial for your diet too. But be careful, you’ll lose the benefits if they’re not cooked well. Here are some varieties to try: shitake, maitake, oyster and enoki.

3. Healthy Fats

(5-7 serving a day; 1 serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of oil)

Fats have received a bad reputation through the years, especially with the 1980’s government issued food pyramid that has been updated just this June 2011. It is important to understand that not all fats are created the same and there are some types that are good for you because they protect your heart, especially omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re looking to increase your intake of good fats and cut out the bad ones (trans fats from processed and fried foods), make sure you add these to your grocery list: hemp seeds, flaxseeds, avocados, walnut oil, olive oil, hazelnut oil and omega-3 eggs.

4. Whole Soy Foods

(Serving size: 1-2 servings a day)

Not all soy products are made the same! Processed soy, such as those found in soy chips, soy milk, soy protein bars and the majority of all other processed foods, are much more damaging than beneficial. Look for whole soy foods over isolated soy protein powders like fake meats with soy isolate. Try eating tofu, tempeh, natural soy milk, edamame and soy nuts. Soy is a good source of protein and help guard against hormonally driven cancers, such as prostate cancer and breast cancer.

5. Whole and Cracked Grains

(3-5 servings a day; 1 serving is 1/2 cup cooked)

The good types of whole grain products are ones where you can actually see the grain or large chunks of grain. These foods won’t raise blood sugar the way products made with flour and sugars do. Stock up on basmati rice, wild rice, brown rice, buckwheat, barley, groats and quinoa.

Alcohol, Hangovers, and Your Body

Alcohol, Hangovers, and Your Body


Did you know that the body reacts to alcohol as it would to a poison? In other words, it works as hard to get it out as you work to get it in! What is happening inside the body after you enjoy some alcohol?

In a nutshell:

First, the liver changes alcohol into acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance. This then turns into acetate, a harmless substance that is passed out of your body in your urine, and-more minutely-in your breath and sweat. This process is hard work, and it means that your liver is unable to focus on its other job, which is sending energizing glucose to other areas of your body. This is why people feel tired, weak, and disoriented following a booze binge.

More specifically:

Alcohol that is being consumed enters through the mouth and the esophagus into the stomach. A small amount is converted there. The rest of the alcohol is undigested, pure alcohol and is absorbed into the blood stream and spread throughout the body. Presence of food in the stomach at the moment of drinking delays the absorption of alcohol in the blood. This is why an alcoholic beverage has a quicker effect when the stomach is empty than when the drink is taken during or after a meal. Drinks that have an alcohol level of more than 20% stay longer in the stomach than drinks with a lower alcohol level. The quantity of alcohol in the blood is expressed in per mill. (A per mill of 0.5 means that 1 milliliter (cc) of blood contains half a milligram of pure alcohol). Someone who weighs a lot has more body fluids than someone who weighs less, so a lighter person notices more of the same number of glasses of alcohol than a heavier person. There is also a difference between men and women. The body of a woman contains on average less body fluids per pound than a man. So a woman will get a higher blood alcohol level faster than a man. Women also digest a smaller part of the alcohol in the body.

The liver will then proceed to break down the alcohol, after which it is eliminated through urine.

So you now have a bad hangover the next day.

What are some ways to ward off that hangover?

Let’s start before you even have a drink! Make sure you eat a good meal. In fact, have one that is full of grease! (Not the healthiest options here . . . but we are trying to prevent hangovers, not weight gain.) Actually, deep fried and most fatty foods cling onto the stomach lining, slowing alcohol's absorption, giving more time to process its byproducts.

As you drink, remember this rule: The clearer your drink, the clearer you’ll be!

White wine and gin come with less "why me" effects than do their darker cousins red wine and bourbon. A good rule of thumb is to alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water (or two)! And have a glass of water when you get home, before bed.

What to do to fix hangovers?

The reason a hangover exists is because the body has lost nutrients and electrolytes. To counteract the nauseous, headachy effects, those lost nutrients need to be replaced. Start by re-hydrating. Perhaps selecting different electrolyte infused sports drinks, real fruit juices, emergenc-e and water throughout the day. Steer clear of coffee, because it will dehydrate you further. Eat something light and nutritious, like an apple, banana or yogurt. After you have had something to eat and a (non-alcoholic) hydrating beverage to drink, get some gentle exercise. You may not feel like moving, but a brisk walk can be just the healing help you need.  Exercise increases blood flow and helps rid toxins that are left from your body's attempt to metabolize that alcohol.